How to Grow and Care for Philodendron Micans

This Instagram-worthy plant is not only gorgeous, but easy to grow too.

A philodendron micans sitting in a white utility cart against a white wall.

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Native to the tropical regions of Mexico and the Caribbean, the philodendron micans is a stunning philodendron variety that is known for its velvety, heart-shaped leaves and trailing growth habit. It has become extremely popular as a houseplant and can be difficult to come across in some regions as a result; but if you are able to get your hands on one you won’t regret it. Philodendron micans look great in hanging planters or climbing moss poles or trellises, and similar to other philodendron varieties, it is low-maintenance and easy to grow. As a variety of the heartleaf philodendron, the philodendron micans is considered toxic to both cats and dogs.

Botanical Name Philodendron hederaceum var. hederaceum 
Common Name  Philodendron micans, velvet-leaf philodendron 
Family  Araceae 
Plant Type  Perennial 
Mature Size  8 in. tall, 24 in. long 
Sun Exposure  Partial 
Soil Type  Loamy, moist but well-drained 
Soil pH  Acidic 
Bloom Time  Spring, summer 
Flower Color  Green, white 
Hardiness Zones  10a, 10b, 11a, 11b 
Native Area  North America, Central America 
Toxicity Toxic to cats, toxic to dogs
Close up image of a green velvet philodendron micans leaf.

SEE D JAN / Getty Images

Philodendron Micans Care

This philodendron is easy to care for and grow indoors as a houseplant. It appreciates bright, indirect light; well-draining soil; and regular watering. While the philodendron micans does produce flowers in the wild, it is extremely rare for them to flower indoors and when they do, the blooms are fairly insignificant compared to their brilliant foliage. 

Light

The philodendron micans enjoys bright to medium indirect light. Avoid prolonged periods of direct sunlight as it can burn the delicate leaves, causing discoloration and crispy edges. 

The amount of light that your philodendron micans is exposed to will ultimately influence the color of the leaves. Increased light will cause the leaves to stay red/maroon, while lower light will result in leaves that are a deeper green color.

Soil

This tropical aroid requires an airy, moist, well-draining soil mixture that is rich in organic matter. While it can technically survive in a standard potting soil, the philodendron micans will thrive in a custom soil mix designed to meet its needs. Try mixing together 1 part potting soil, 1 part orchid bark, 1 part perlite, and 1 part peat moss or coco coir to create the ideal potting mix for your philodendron micans.

Water

Water your philodendron micans once the top 2-3 inches of the soil have dried out. Another easy way to tell if your micans needs water is to check the leaves: once it is thirsty the leaves will start to droop and curl inwards slightly. These philodendrons are sensitive to overwatering so ensure that you are never letting the roots sit in water.

Temperature and Humidity

Native to tropical environments, the philodendron micans thrives in warm temperatures and humid conditions. Typical household temperature levels are more than adequate for the philodendron micans, just ensure that you keep your plant away from any cold, drafty windows or air vents. For the most part, average household humidity levels are also sufficient for a philodendron micans, although providing extra humidity for your plant can help to boost its growth.

Fertilizer

As long as your philodendron micans is planted in a potting medium that is rich in organic matter, it will not require any heavy fertilization. That being said, it can benefit from some light fertilization with a balanced all-purpose fertilizer throughout the spring and summer to help boost growth.

Pruning

Regular pruning will help to ensure that your philodendron micans does not become leggy as pruning encourages the stems to branch. The spring and summer are the best times to prune your philodendron micans as it is in its active growing period. Using a pair of sterilized pruning shears, prune any stems that are particularly long. Save any stem trimmings as they can be used for propagation.

Propagating Philodendron Micans

These gorgeous plants may be difficult to come by, but once you have one in your possession they are easy to propagate. Easily create new plants with stem cuttings in just a few simple steps:

  1. Using a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears, take stem cuttings from a healthy philodendron micans, ensuring that each cutting has approximately 4-5 leaves/nodes (a node is where a leaf attaches, though sometimes there are nodes with no leaf on them).
  2. On each stem cutting, remove the bottom two leaves to expose the nodes along the stem.
  3. Put the stem cuttings in water, ensuring just the bare stem is submerged, and then place the cuttings in a location that receives medium to bright indirect light. 
  4. Roots should begin to develop within a few weeks. Regularly check water levels to ensure that the nodes on the bare stem are submerged at all times. 
  5. Once the roots are at least an inch long, the cuttings can be planted back in soil. 
  6. Before planting the cuttings, pre-moisten the soil and then bury the roots. 
  7. For the first 1-2 weeks keep the soil consistently moist (but never soaking) to help the cuttings acclimate. Then, slowly reduce your watering until you have resumed a normal watering schedule.

Common Pests

Philodendron micans is susceptible to a number of common houseplant pests including scale, aphids, fungus gnats, and mealybugs. Ensure that you check the plant frequently for signs of an infestation so that you can catch it early—you don’t want pests spreading to your other houseplants too.

Common Problems With Philodendron Micans

Similar to many other philodendron varieties, the philodendron micans is relatively problem-free and easy to care for. Any issues that may arise are usually a result of improper watering, drainage, or lighting.

Curling Leaves

Curling leaves are usually an indication that your micans needs more moisture. Sometimes this is easily fixed with a quick watering, but other times it may mean that your plant has insufficient roots (either from rotting or being dried out too much) and cannot absorb the moisture in the soil properly. If watering doesn’t fix the issue, check your plant’s roots. If there are issues with the roots, you can transfer your plant to water to help regrow roots. Follow the propagation steps 3-7 to help your plant grow new roots.

Plant Leaves Falling Off

Sometimes leaves falling off is just a natural part of the plant maturing. If you are noticing older leaves falling off every once and a while, you likely don’t have anything to worry about. However, if you are noticing lots of leaves suddenly dropping or new leaves falling off then you may have an issue with under watering. Ensure that you don’t let your plant dry out too much between waterings.

Mushy Stems

If your micans is suffering from mushy stems then you are likely overwatering your plant, or it does not have sufficient drainage. Ensure that your plant is in a container with drainage holes, and allow the top 2-3 inches of the soil to dry out between waterings.

FAQ
  • Do philodendron micans grow quickly?

    Yes, philodendron micans are considered fast growers! Growing your micans in a hanging planter or allowing it to climb up a moss pole or trellis will help to really showcase its size. If you find that your plant is looking long but a bit sparse, pruning the vines will help to encourage thicker growth.

  • Should you mist a philodendron micans?

    While the philodendron micans enjoys humidity, misting your plant won’t help to permanently increase the humidity around the plant. Instead, misting will just make the leaves wet and temporarily provide some extra humidity. Placing a humidifier nearby, or a pebble tray filled with water beneath the pot are both better ways to increase humidity than to mist.

  • Why are the new leaves on my plant so spaced out and small?

    Leaves that are spaced out along the stem, otherwise known as leggy growth, indicate that your plant needs more light. This will also help the leaves to grow larger, although small leaves can also indicate that your plant requires fertilization.

Article Sources
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  1. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Heartleaf Philodendron." Aspca.org. N.p., n.d. Web.